Is Mobile Banking Catching on in Canada?

by Jordan Richardson on March 25, 2010

Most industry analysts will tell you that Canada’s been slow to accept mobile banking. With only 70% wireless penetration in Canada, it’s probably not surprising that some users aren’t exactly adopting the cutting edge of possibilities as of yet. It’s also possible that many Canadians simply don’t trust mobile banking yet and would rather do things the old-fashioned way by, I don’t know, actually speaking to a person regarding financial matters.

Nevertheless, the aforementioned mobile banking disinclination hasn’t stopped Canada’s finest from getting into the ring to offer new banking options for mobile devices. And now that ING Direct has stepped in it to offer a mobile banking app, there’s no telling what will happen next.

ING Direct is claiming that it is the first bank in Canada to offer mobile banking applications for BlackBerry and iPhone devices. They even unleashed a mobile web site on Tuesday to show that they’re serious.

The apps are free and will allow users the opportunity to “check account balances, review transactions, transfer funds, locate ABMs and find the nearest ING Direct Save Your Money Cafes.”

CIBC, meanwhile, made waves in February by releasing an app for the iPhone and Scotiabank is hoping to offer what it calls “full mobile banking services” by the spring. It looks like the mobile banking revolution is underway in Canada.

ING Direct has turned to social media marketing to further its project, using Twitter and even launching a Twitter app that will let users tweet their banking fees while ING Direct tweets back how much those fees actually wind up costing them in the end.

ING Direct Canada president and chief executive Peter Aceto is right in the mix. On Facebook as SuperStarSaver and on Twitter as @CEO_INGDIRECT, Aceto seems to be embracing the beauty of social media marketing in today’s tech age. And he’s more than aware of the potential for growth in the mobile banking sector, noting that Canadians “love their phones.”

Canadians may love their phones, but at this point and time they are still behind most of the other technologically-advanced countries when it comes to accepting mobile banking services. With only 9% of Canadians accessing mobile banking services to check account balances on a regular basis, there’s a lot of work to be done in putting this over on the people before Aceto and others can expect much by way of returns.

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